Saturday, 5 January 2008

The Danger of the U.S. on us all

The effects of U.S. culture are clearly seen in most countries and Australia is no exception. Entertainment and fashion are the obvious influences but what about corporate and political influence? I can live with some American corporate icons as being global enterprises trying to make a buck but I draw the line at WalMart or Nike that are known for their human rights violations. American mega-corporations have also created a new catch-phrase you now hear so often from our Australia companies via the CEO, "we have a responsibility to our shareholders". The excuse for shredding customers into tiny pieces of profit. The other issue that influences our lives just as much but evades our daily thinking is drug prohibition. The idea that illicit drugs could be bought freely in chemists is extremely foreign to us or the idea that taking ecstasy before going to a night club is legal just isn't comprehendible to most people. But why? Contrary to popular belief, removing strict drug prohibition would not cause a huge increase of drug use. We would not be tripping over junkies in the street nor would any other drug nightmare happen. This is just what the U.S. wants us to think ... and we do. Did the removal of alcohol prohibition in the U.S. cause the world to slip into mass alcoholism? Ordinary people do not over use alcohol just because it's legal. The same is for drug use. Illegal drugs are readily available and can be obtained easily now, so why would the removal of prohibition change that? We already know the dangers of drugs so the dumbed down argument that citizens would just blindly start abusing any drug and every drug in volumes is just ludicrous. It doesn't happen with alcohol which is highly addictive so why would it happen with most drugs. Despite the U.S. led, "War on Drugs" costing the U.S. alone over 1.3 trillion dollars so far, drugs are easier to get, more pure and cheaper to buy. More than 2.2 million U.S. citizens are in jail and over half are for drug crimes yet drug use doesn't drop. The U.S. "War on Drugs" gives crime cartels worldwide an estimated 400 billion dollars worth of business every year. The mortality rate for drug crimes (gang/organised crime) not involving overdoes is in the up 100,000 every year. This policy would have to be the biggest failure in U.S. history. Even worse, it causes more death and carnage to peoples lives than any non war policy ever. So why do governments like Australia's government keep following the U.S. lead? More importantly, why do countries with a highly educated population like Australia, fail to see the obvious? The facts are all there and extremely easy to find ... just Google it. UN decisions on international drug policy is mostly designed around U.S. federal legislation. The U.S. basically dictates what the UN deems as international conventions. Almost every nation has signed the UN conventions, yet there has never been a serious international debate about whether prohibition should be the basic method of dealing with drug problems. Any country that tries to break free from the UN or U.S. policy is immediately cast as being 'soft on drugs' and subjected to heavy handed reprisals including blackmail. When Australia was to have a heroin trial in the 1990s, a visit from the U.S's top international drug enforcer, Bob Gelbard warned us that it was not in our interest to proceed with something that was so polar to their "War on Drugs". They warned that if Australia went ahead, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) might embargo Tasmania's opium poppy industry. The warning was strong enough to halt the trials. When the Dutch changed policy to Harm Minimisation that provided clean needles to heroin addicts, allowed the sale of marijuana in highly regulated shops and the overlooking of possession for small amounts of illicit drugs, the U.S. went troppo. They made up false figures and released them as evidence that the Dutch drug policy was "an unmitigated disaster". The U.S. claimed, "Dutch teenagers used marijuana at three times the rate of American teens, The murder rate in Holland is double that in the United States. The per-capita crime rates are much higher than the United States—that's drugs.". It was all a lie. Most research shows that Dutch teenagers use marijuana much less than American teens. The American murder rate is 450% higher than the Dutch rate and the rate of heroin abuse (considered a key drug indicator) is nearly 300% higher in the United States than in Holland. The United States also worked behind the scenes to internationalize its prohibition efforts—sometimes using questionable pressure tactics. Charles Siragusa, an American narcotics agent during the early years of international prohibition, noted in his 1966 memoirs that foreign police almost always worked willingly with us. It was their superiors in government who were sometimes unhappy that we had entered their countries. Most of the time, though, I found that a casual mention of the possibility of shutting off our foreign aid programs, dropped in the proper quarters, brought grudging permission for our operations almost immediately. The Last Word on the Drug War By Dan Gardiner, The Vancouver Sun The U.S. often uses foreign aid as a tool to expand American drug policies. The 1984 National Drug Strategy for Prevention of Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking stated that "U.S. decisions on foreign aid and other matters should be tied to the willingness of the recipient country to execute vigorous enforcement programs against narcotic traffickers." In 1980, the U.S. stopped most foreign aid to Bolivia when it declared the Bolivian government was 'unresponsive' to American demands for cocaine control. The UN's World Health Organization (WHO) commissioned a report on cocaine use in the early 1990s. It was an extensive research project using dozens of experts in 22 cities and 19 countries and was finished in 1995. But for some mysterious reason, the WHO decided the report was technically unsound and it was never released. The WHO declared it had no plans to do further research on cocaine. The unreleased document is critical of existing drug policies and many of the beliefs about cocaine that support those policies. Among its startling conclusions:—Occasional cocaine use, not intensive or compulsive consumption, is the most typical pattern of cocaine use.—Most participating countries agree that occasional cocaine use does not typically lead to severe or even minor physical or social problems.—The chewing of coca leaves by South American aboriginals appears to have no negative health effects and has positive, therapeutic, sacred and social functions. According to the former UNDCP official, this landmark report was withheld because the United States pressed the WHO to bury it. If it was released, American officials warned, the United States would pull its funding from the section of WHO responsible for the report. The U.S. state department would not comment on this allegation. However, WHO official Hartl confirms that this threat was made. In a May 1995 meeting, according to the WHO's records, Neil Boyer, the American representative to the organization, took the view that [the WHO's] program on substance abuse supported the legalization of drugs. Boyer concluded that if WHO activities relating to drugs failed to reinforce proven drug-control approaches, funds for the relevant programs should be curtailed. The Last Word on the Drug War By Dan Gardiner, The Vancouver Sun In 2006, a bill in the Mexican Senate that would decriminalise the possession of small amounts of drugs was passed in both the Mexican Senate and Congress. President Vicente Fox declared nationally that he would sign it into law the next day. His office said that decriminalising drugs will free up police to focus on major dealers. “This law gives police and prosecutors better legal tools to combat drug crimes that do so much damage to our youth and children,”. The U.S. intervened and after strong objections from Washington, President Vicente Fox had a change of heart and announced a few days later that he would not proceed to sign the bill after all. There's no point even discussing Latin America because it has been documented so many times that the U.S. do whatever they want with these countries. Plan Columbia, a neocon's dream was eventually exposed for a U.S. plan to mange the Columbia government and showed how the CIA actually smuggled cocaine into the U.S. to pay for the operation. Panamanian ex-leader Manuel Noriega was a highly paid CIA asset and collaborator, despite knowledge by U.S. drug authorities that he was heavily involved in drug trafficking. There can be no sensible debate on Latin American drug policy when the so called 'local sherif' of drug prohibition contradicts their own policies. The "War on Drugs" is over ... we lost. 
When will sensible drug policies be publicly debated amongst experts? I don't mean a silly television chit-chat special made up of lobby groups, the public, religious leaders or moral zealots but real experts who don't bend to politics or so called moralists. Experts with scientific or medical backgrounds, social and welfare workers, addiction specialists etc. These issues has cost so many lives and have ruined millions more. The cost of the "War on Drugs" could feed the world for years and eliminate poverty forever. It causes most of the world's crime and put millions of non violent drug users in jail. 
Drug policy can't be forced on us by the U.S. who are corrupt, self-serving and liars. They have proved over the last 35, that their deontological actions in the name of the "War on Drugs" are draconian and have failed dismally. Their portrayal as 'the fighters for liberty' is hypocritical at best and the "War on Drugs" is completely against their own constitution they hold so dearly. 
For a country that has such a high number of Christians and the unusual requirement that their leaders have to be strongly religious shows up the "War on Drugs" as the political tool it really is. No real Christian nation with selfless morals who follow the real meaning of their god would accommodate such a cruel and divisive policy. Only Christian extremists and American evangelists have the nerve to claim such cruelty is neccessary. They wouldn't make treatment the minor part of the policy and would not ruin so many lives with such aggressive punishments. How such as a policy can be condoned let alone adopted is beyond reason.
It also can't be left to politicians who have to play a game of popularity and it definitely can't be left to moralists and religion that have their own greedy agenda. It's time for policy makers to learn from history and implement startegies that deal with reality and how best to help those effected.


Sam Sejavka said...

whew. that was a large post.

Inderstand that it's an article corporate law that the welfare of stockholders comes before all else. The act of privatisation moves an organisation's interests from the community to the wealthy.

I've heard much about what happened at the time of the heroin trials. Your recounting is the most clear. I wonder what your sources are?

enjoying your post. [I've posted your link, by the way]

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Sam for your comment.
Yes, it was a long post but the US are a disgrace. They are largest providers of state run terrorism in the world. They have interfered with 130 countries to date and are responsible for more terrorist attacks than any other nation. Add in Israel and you have a scary combo of terrorist, liars and 2 nations who break more UN conventions and international laws than the world combined.
Their 'War on Terror' directly effects me by blackmailing my government into not providing the medication I so desperately need ... heroin.
I just use the internet for source material. For more on the heroin trials, check out my link to the 4 corners story.

Sam Sejavka said...

Hi, again.

I'm currently writing an an article on opiophobia and it's sources. I wonder if you could give me your sources on the US pressure that was brought to bear during the heroin trials? I'm also interested in Glaxo SK's efforts to keep Capanol off the pharmacotherapies list. Know anything about that?

cheers, enjoying your blog


Terry Wright said...

Hi Sam, thanks for your comment.

Try these:
The Heroin Trial 10 Years On
Why US won't let Aust. reform its drug laws
What Went Wrong?
Methods, Safety Scrutinized after Shootout

Sorry, but I know nothing of Capanol.

Thanks again for your comments, keep them coming.

Tatess said...

Damn, I live in North Carolina in the United States, and I really did not know, how much influence the US has. I am ashamed we are so overbearing as make other countries to as we do or else. WE should not use this "Or Else" mentality. Thanks for enlightening me Terry. I will continue to edcuate myself and try and get involved, but anyone listening to and ex junkie in the US is just a dream. And they also trive on that very fact. Fear of everyone to speak up is what I am learning. This country is a damn mess....

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Tatess for your comments.
I hope you don't take my dislike of the US as a personal attack on it's people. I have no problem with any nation's people just the governments.
Unfortunately your government is the Bush administration and they are criminals. The world knows it and I suspect your people know it too. The US have a long history of interfering and many are just sick of it.

Their drug policy is probably the best example of a nation's hierarchy gone mad.

I read a statistic the other day: NSW, a state in Australia has about the same population as NY City. Because of your drug policy, you don't operate a needle exchange. In the early 2000s, NSW had 42 people with HIVAIDS. NY City had 17,000.

Sam Sejavka said...

the Australian government can't do a thing regards drug policy without the US okaying it first. That's a fact of life, isn't it? [We should get, like, half a vote each in the US elections - given how much of an effect it has on us]

Terry Wright said...

Hi Sam
I agree. If they didn't run around giving us the shits and trying to dictate to the world it would be different. Since they transfer blame onto other countries for their problems ( i.e blame Latin America for their cocaine problem) ,we then should be able to vote in their smelly elections. I doubt then if a republican would ever get a vote because most of the world hate the US especially the US style conservatives like Nixon, Reagan, Bush & Bush Jr. Even so called democrat candidates like Clinton are so far right of the rest of the world.